My Learning Curve (Gwen Moritz Editor's Note)

by Gwen Moritz  on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013 12:21 pm  

Lesson No. 1: Pride goeth before a fall. I recently criticized the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for reporting information that really had no business in the public record. “Just because we can do something, does that mean we should?” I wrote. How supremely arrogant of me when just a few weeks later thousands of people would ask me the very same question. 

Lesson No. 2: When it comes to guns, subtle distinctions go out the window. I believe that citizens should be able to ask their government whom it has licensed to carry a concealed weapon. Also who their government has licensed to practice medicine, practice law and cut hair. But my clumsy attempt to make that point instantly turned me into an unrecognizable caricature who wants to strip Americans of the right to own guns, who hates America and the Constitution.

So for the record: I do not want to want to strip Americans of the right to own guns, I do not hate America, and I do not hate the Constitution. 

Lesson No. 3: A lot of our fellow Americans are scared. I heard from several people whose names were on the Arkansas CCL list who said they were happy for the world to know that they could be packing at any time. I heard from others who were terrified that random bad guys would be reading and use the list to harm them.

It was never my intention to make people who already live in fear more miserable. I’m ashamed to say that never even crossed my mind, although it certainly should have. Many of my correspondents immediately concluded that punishing CCL licensees for daring to want to protect themselves was my one and only goal. And I completely understand why they would feel that way: As I also wrote recently (in another inadvertent but poetic exercise in hypocrisy), motives don’t matter nearly as much as actions.

So again, for the record: I do not wish to punish law-abiding CCL licensees, and I am sorry if they believe I have.

Lesson No. 4: They don’t want to hurt me. As far as I know, I haven’t received any actual death threats, not even from the people who thought it was a proportional response to post directions to my house on the Internet. This remarkable fact underscores a point that gun aficionados have tried to make until they are blue in the face: They are not criminals. They posted my personal information all over the Internet in hopes that I would feel as vulnerable and exposed to criminals as they do. They seek to intimidate me as they feel they have been intimidated, to bully me in response to what they see as my bullying. They might think I deserve to become the target of crime because they feel I have made them targets. But the people who are angry with me do not seem to want to hurt me, because they truly see themselves as the good guys with guns. This, I think, may be the most valuable lesson I can share with the people who are concerned about my safety. 

(Gwen Moritz is editor of Arkansas Business. You may still email her at



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